Nov. 3, 2013
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Matthew McClintock finished second at the Big Ten Cross Country Championships and the men's and women's teams had their best finishes in years on Sunday morning. The men finished sixth with 163 points while the women took eighth with 221.
"One of our goals before the season was top six for the men and top eight for the women," Purdue distance coach Dave Hartman said. "We knew both would be difficult because it was a big jump from where we were last year. We thought they were attainable, though. I'm just really, really proud of the men and women coming out and performing on their home course in a championship environment and achieving those goals."
The Purdue men had their highest finish since 1991 with the sixth place finish. The 163 points is Purdue's best since 1986 when the team finished with 97 points and fourth place. The Boilermakers improved their score by 50 points from a year ago when the team finished ninth with 213.
"This shows that we are moving the program and we are improving steadily," said Hartman. "The Big Ten is a tough conference, but to make the jumps that we did over the last year shows that we are ready to compete and we are moving."
McClintock ran a well-executed race from the get-go. The sophomore got out in the lead pack and hung there throughout the race. Over the last 1,000 meters, the Athens, Maine, native battled with Malachy Schrobilgen of Wisconsin for the top spot. The Badger freshman ended up outlegging the Boilermaker sophomore by one second, giving McClintock the second-place finish with a time of 24:17.9. Despite the wet, muddy conditions, the time is the fifth fastest by a Boilermaker at the Big Ten Championships, though it is his second fastest at the conference meet as he ran a 24:04 last season.
"Matt ran awesome," said Hartman. "There was a lot of pressure on him coming into the meet, especially with us hosting and having the potential to win. I thought he reacted brilliantly. The young man from Wisconsin ran a tremendous race and got it today. All credit to him, but Matt was tough and fought all the way to the line."
Jake Waterman came in second for the Boilermakers and 31st overall, Waterman finished with a time of 25:09.3 to earn 30 points. Tate Schienbein was not far behind as he took 34th and earned 33 points for Purdue. He finished in 25:11.5 as Purdue's third runner.
Caleb Kerr took 42nd, despite falling down early in the race. Kerr earned 40 points with his time of 25:23.0. Steven Stoot rounded out the scoring for the Boilermakers. The fifth-year senior crossed the finish line in 25:39.4 to earn 58 points for Purdue.
On the women's side, Purdue had its best finish since 2007 and the Boilermakers finished eighth. Freshman Brynn Olinger was the top Boilermaker for the first time in her career as she came across in 42nd to earn 38 points with a time of 22:05.9. Blair Doney was not far behind as the junior took 45th for 41 points with a time of 22:13.6.
"Our girls, we have a lot of depth," added Hartman. "We are a very strong top to bottom program. There are other girls on our roster than didn't run today that I think could have been up there. It shows that we are growing and getting better as a program, especially with the results. I am really proud of how the girls ran today."
Kristin Fritts had her highest finish on the team as a Boilermaker. Fritts ran her second-fastest 6k of the season with a time of 22:15.7 to finish with 43 points. Michelle Potter was fourth for the Boilermakers with a time of 22:21.2 for 49 points and Linsey Daluga rounded out the scoring with a time of 22:21.5 for 50 points.
The Indiana Hoosiers won the men's race for the first time since 1980. They finished with 51 points as they had four runners in the top 10. It was the first time since 1998 that a team other than Wisconsin won the race. Michigan took second with 66 points and Wisconsin finished third with 71.
On the women's side, Michigan State won the conference championship with 43 points. Michigan finished second with 55 points while Minnesota took third 68.
"We don't have anything to lose from this point on," Hartman said. "The goal will be to qualify for nationals, but we know it's a long shot. Eventually, that will be our goal. We are ready, though, and we are going to approach the meet with that goal in mind and see what happens."
The Boilermakers compete in the Great Lakes Regionals on Nov. 15 in Madison, Wis.